Friday 12 May 2006
Following our earlier hands-on report with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz's fantastic minigames, this time we went back to take on the main ball-rolling game to see how the Wii remote coped with it.
As you may recall in Super Monkey Ball you don't actually control the balled monkeys. Instead you get to tilt the ground beneath them in order to get them to roll through the level. It is this ground titling control that has been mapped on to Wii's motion sensitive controller.
By holding the remote horizontally the ground will stay flat and the monkey still, but tilting the remote forward will create a downward slope for monkey to roll down, then an uphill slope can be created by titling the controller back. Then for left and right movements, the remote must be twisted using the same action as you would use on a door knob.
Basically the remote replicates the angle of the ground and so has to be carefully manipulated, just like the old ball bearing games that Super Monkey Ball is based on.
Above: Use the Wii-mote to tilt the ground beneath your monkey ball
New to the series is the balled monkey's ability to jump - this is achieved by pressing A on the remote. It's an obvious addition but one that really works. For instance on one level we were attempting to go round a very tight corner, which was tricky enough, but on this corner was a spinning blade that needed to be leapt over every time it swung round. So all in one go we had to twist and tilt the remote while rhythmically tapping the A button. It was extremely intense, but really fun and invigorating to complete.
Playing Monkey Ball with the Wii-mote really worked but this was partly due to the time spent with the tech demos where we had time to learn how to manipulate it, which again suggests there's a definite technique to grasp when using the Wii controller.